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Manga / Locodol

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From left to right, back to front: Yui, Mirai, Nanako and Yukari

Locodol (Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita) is a 4koma comedy series written and drawn by Kōtarō Kosugi. Locodol is serialised in Manga 4-koma Palette and has been running since 2011. There are two compiled volumes and an anime adaptation that was produced by Studio Feel, which aired in the summer of 2014. Two OVAs were subsequently released; the first was broadcast in September 2014, and the second was a Christmas Episode that aired on Christmas Eve.

Nanako Usami is approached by her uncle to become a local idol, or "Locodol", in order to help revitalise Nagarekawa when it begins to experience a decline in tourism. An ordinary high school student, Nanako is initially unsure as to whether or not she would be able to fulfil this task. She's partnered with upperclassman Yukari Kohinata to form the idol unit, Nagarekawa Girls, and with Yukari's encouragement, Nanako agrees to help her uncle out. Yui Mikoze, who acts as the local mascot, and Mirai Nazukari, who serves as Yui's substitute, later join the Nagarekawa Girls. Together, the girls use their talents to promote Nagarekawa, taking on the responsibility of bringing their hometown out of its economic slump and generating excitement in their region's specialities amongst travellers to put Nagarekawa back on the map.

Locodol provides examples of:

  • A-Cup Angst: After Yui takes off her Uogokoro-kun costume, Nanako notices her substantial bust line:
    Nanako: Just wondering about my reason for existence.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Yui has prominent eyebrows.
  • Bland-Name Product: Baskin Robbins is now "Boking Poppins", the "BR" in the logo becomes a single "P," and serves only thirty flavours.
  • Blush Sticker: These are featured as a part of Uogokoro-kun's facial expression.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The person in the lion costume in the first episode turns out to be the same person playing Uogokoro-kun, the newly-introduced regional mascot.
  • Christmas Episode: The second of the OVAs is set during the Christmas season, with Nanako and Yukari spending their Silent Night together.
  • Cool Big Sis: When asked what she would like to call Nanako in the eighth episode, Mirai comes up with "Nanako-neesan", and the more formal "Usami-neesan", before settling on "Nanako-san" at the end, despite their being the same age.
  • Covert Pervert: Saori and Yukari share these tendencies; in particular, Saori goes to great lengths in acquiring photographs of the Nagarekawa Girls and even has her own fan site.
  • Credits Running Sequence: The ending has the girls running.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Yukari finds Yui adorable.
  • Dying Town: While Nagarekawa's economy appears to be faring reasonably well, the town's declining tourism sector leads Nanako's uncle to create the idea of local idols to boost community morale and encourage visitors.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Awa Awa Girls appear briefly on TV in episode one, but are formally introduced ten episodes later.
  • Evolving Credits: The ending credits change as the Nagarekawa Girls gains members. Initially, only Nanako and Yukari are present. Yui and Uogokoro-kun accompany them after episode three, and Mirai joins the others following her introduction in episode seven.
  • Friendless Background: Owing to her background, it appears that before Nanako visited her in the second episode, Yukari has never had someone of her age group over to her home (save her cousin).
  • Funbag Airbag: This occurs with great frequency given Yukari's propensity to hug Nanako.
  • Guttural Growler: A malfunctioning speaker causes Uogokoro-kun's voice to have these properties.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: In-universe, children love Uogokoro-kun.
  • Luminescent Blush: Yui goes into a meltdown whenever Nanako gets too close. Apparently this happens all the time when she's with other people, which is why rather than become an idol, Yui prefers to do her performances inside costumes instead.
  • Indy Ploy: While their live performances usually open smoothly, events outside of their control sometimes forces Nanako and Yukari to improvise.
    • In the first episode, Nanako's embarrassment precludes her from singing, but encouragement from Yukari leads them to eventually sing Nagarekawa's anthem.
    • In the third episode, an unexpected shower prompts Nanako to strip down to the swimsuit that she was wearing under her idol outfit, inspiring Yukari to do the same.
  • Masquerading As the Unseen: In a gentler version of this trope, Mirai is brought in to act as the backup Uogokoro-kun when demands for the character are too much for Yui to handle alone.
  • The Ojou: Yukari is from one of the town's wealthier families, and her home encompasses an entire floor of a large apartment complex.
  • Older Than They Look: Yui, the person inside the Uogokoro-kun costume, is actually in her third year. Not only is she shorter than either Nanako and Yukari, but she also looks much younger than them.
  • Real-Place Background: Nagarekawa is a fictionalised depiction of Nagareyama, a mid-sized town in the Chiba prefecture that is relatively close to Tokyo.
  • Running Gag: Nerves mean that Nanako is unable to properly pronounce her own name when asked to do so while on camera: each time, she winds up saying "Nya-nako" or "Na-nyako" instead.
  • Shout-Out: One of Saori's Imagine Spots of Nanako and Yukari have them wearing pilot suits from the Muv-Luv series.
  • Shrinking Violet: Outside of the Uogokoro-kun costume, Mirai is incredibly shy.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Nanako and Yui's younger brother each independently have similar fantasies about the possibility of Yui leaving them.
  • Those Two Girls: Nanako's trio of classmates are her friends from high school and frequently accompany her when she's not on duty as a Locodol.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • Nanako stutters when she gets nervous and consequently, ends up with the nickname "Nanyako".
    • Yui appends "~su" to her sentences, even those that normally don't end with "-desu".
  • Working Through the Cold: Yukari tries to continue performing despite a cold during the first half of episode nine and spends the second half recovering.
  • Worth It: During the second half of episode nine, Yukari has a flashback to when she had been dismissed from her job for leaving her post to help a lost child. For the consequences, Yukari felt that having helped the child was worth her while, even if she did get fired in the process.
  • Yonkoma

Alternative Title(s): Futsuu No Joshikousei Ga Locodol Yattemita